Sports

Donaldson nears return for Blue Jays, Pearce goes to disabled list

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Steve Pearce (28) leaves the game with an injury after hitting a double against the Seattle Mariners during second inning American League baseball action in Toronto, Sunday, May 14, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Steve Pearce (28) leaves the game with an injury after hitting a double against the Seattle Mariners during second inning American League baseball action in Toronto, Sunday, May 14, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO — Josh Donaldson could return to the Blue Jays lineup as soon as this weekend when Toronto visits Baltimore for a three-game series.

The third baseman has been out of the lineup since April 13 due to a strained right calf.

"Hopefully, maybe Donaldson by the weekend. We'll see," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said before Toronto's game Monday against visioting Atlanta, adding the team is currently talking about the possibility of a rehab assignment for the 31-year-old.

Donaldson initially suffered the injury during an April 9 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays and did not start the Blue Jays home opener April 11 against Milwaukee.

He returned for the second of a two-game series against the Brewers on April 12 before aggravating the injury in the series opener against the Orioles the following day.

"Josh is one of those guys, he was probably more honest this time than the last time," Gibbons said. "But he's ready to come back.

"Each day they throw a little bit more at him. It's been over a month, but he hurt it twice, want to make sure he's good and ready. So each day they increase what he's doing: ground balls, range, running — that kind of stuff."

In nine games prior to going on the disabled list Donaldson was hitting .310 with two home runs and four RBIs.

Meanwhile, Donaldson got more company on the DL when the Blue placed Steve Pearce on the disabled list with a right calf strain and recalled right-hander Leonel Campos from Triple-A Buffalo.

Pearce suffered the injury during Sunday's series finale against the Seattle Mariners.

With the rash of injuries — Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin, J.A. Happ and Francisco Liriano are also on the DL — Gibbons admitted the team may need to make some changes.

"We're looking at some things around here, if we need to make some adjustments, that kind of thing," he said. "It's just too many injuries for everybody."

Pearce, the veteran utility man, is hitting .205 with four home runs and 10 RBIs this season.

With Pearce on the DL, Ezequiel Carrera started against Atlanta in left field, but Gibbons said Darwin Barney, Chris Coghlan and Ryan Goins were all available to fill in.

Tulowitzki, who has been out of the Blue Jays line-up since April 21 due to a right hamstring injury, was scheduled to suit up for his first rehab game for single-A Dunedin on Monday night.

More on Metronews.ca